The Bermondsey Beer Mile will have you all hopped up.
Many amongst us have whiled away a perfectly good Saturday afternoon in the pub, sinking pints and carousing until the sun goes down. Still, if you prefer your sessions to have more of a direction, more of a challenge about them, London is only too happy to oblige. The Bermondsey Beer Mile is a challenge worthy of any self-respecting beer fiend, stretching a whopping 1.4 miles through the streets and railway arches of South London. At the end of it lies happiness, hoppiness, and eternal glory.
A couple of quick things to note first: one, you’ll need to do it on a Saturday if you – somehow – intend on hitting every stop, as this is the only day all the taprooms/breweries are open. And two, you can do it from either direction, but we’ve opted for west to east to allow you to start with a very important food stop at Maltby Street Market first (because since when has boozing on an empty stomach ever been a good idea?). Right, with all that sorted, let’s get started!
Stop 1: Southwark Brewing Co
Your Bermondsey Beer Mile adventure kicks off here, with crafted small batch beers first up. The Harvard American Pale Ale is quite the education, whilst for something a little closer to home, you can opt for the modestly-titled Bermondsey Best, or the transatlantic combo Mayflower Session IPA.
46 Druid Street, SE1 2EZ. Open 7-10pm (Tue), 5-10pm (Thu and Fri), 11am-6pm (Sat), and 12-5pm (Sun).
Stop 2: The Barrel Project
An old railway archway filled with over 200 barrels, there’s no shortage of things to try here. The taproom boasts twenty-four taps, and should they crack open a barrel, you can expect something special like a Pineapple Kettle Sour.
80 Druid Street, SE1 2HQ. Open 4-11pm (Wed-Fri), 11am-11pm (Sat), and 12-7pm (Sun).
Stop 3: Hawkes Cidery & Taproom
The only stop on the Bermondsey Beer Mile that – shock! horror! – doesn’t serve beer, this taproom is nevertheless worth stopping at. They’ve got a good range of ciders (the Dead & Berried is worth it for the clever name alone), and they also do pizzas, for the foolhardy few amongst you who didn’t eat at the start.
Stop 4: Hiver Beers
By the fourth stop of the Bermondsey Beer Mile, you’re probably buzzing a little – in which case, Hiver can only help. All of the beers in their taproom are fermented with raw honey, and you won’t bee-lieve the results… (They’re a lot better than that pun, I promise you.)
Stop 5: Anspach & Hobday
Starts promising with their logo (a fancy pigeon in a top hat), and gets even better with nine beers on tap. You can get everything from a good solid pale ale to an unusual Sea Salt and Chilli Stout, making Anspach & Hobday well worth lingering at. They’ve also got a pub in Camberwell called The Pigeon, if you’re trying to resist the siren call of the full Mile.
118 Druid Street, SE1 2HH. Open 5-10pm (Fri), 10:30am-10pm (Sat), and 1-6pm (Sun).
Stop 6: Moor Beer
Still thirsty for more beer? Try Moor Beer then. Like yours truly, this one has emerged from deepest darkest Somerset and set up shop in London, although they’re a fair bit better at brewing than I am admittedly. There’s a massive range, with favoured drinks including Return of the Empire, Hoppiness, and Forgotten Glory – which is probably the most appropriate way to describe the day after you attempt the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
71 Enid Street, SE16 3RA. Open 4-10:30pm (Thu and Fri), 12-10:30pm (Sat), and 12-8pm (Sun).
Stop 7: London Calling Sweden
Sounds a bit like the voting round of Eurovision, doesn’t it – in any case, we’d certainly give this place douze points. As opposed to belting out Europop hits, they sell Swedish craft beer from brewery Poppels, including a rather imposing Russian Imperial Stout. Handily located right next door to Moor Beer, and they’ve got another beer-loving neighbour the other side…
72 Enid Street, SE16 3RA. Open 3-10:30pm (Wed to Fri), 12-10:30pm (Sat), and 12-8pm (Sun).
Stop 8: Cloudwater
Cloudwater take a lot of inspiration from the natural world, so it’s perhaps useful that there’s no shortage of rainy days in their home city of Manchester. Another railway arch, another taproom – this one featuring twenty taps, along with cans, bottles, and most importantly, merch.
73 Enid Street, SE16 3RA. Open 3-10pm (Wed to Fri, Sun) and 10am-10pm (Sat).
Stop 9: Brew By Numbers
Love paint by numbers? This is the adult version, one which founders Tom and Dave have perfected over the years. With one number indicating the style, and the second denoting the unique recipe, you’ll be quite content whether you’re supping on the 07:01 (classic Witbier) or the 06:02 (Belgian blonde).
75 Enid Street, SE16 3RA. Open 5-10pm (Fri), 11-8pm (Sat), and 12-6pm (Sun).
Stop 10: Bianca Road Brew Co
Enid Street really seems to be the beating heart of the Bermondsey Beer Mile, as we reach our final stop on this golden road. West Coast American beers are the speciality at one of the Mile’s newest additions, with LA Bloods, Tropicali, and Red Rye being the immediate standouts.
83 Enid Street, SE16 3RA. Open 5-10:30pm (Thu and Fri), 11am-9pm (Sat), and 12-6pm (Sun)
Stop 11: UBREW
A short hop north brings you to your brewery. Yes, it’s yours – UBREW offers membership packages and courses that let you craft your own beers (along with four equally beer-obsessed mates). Should that prove a commitment too far, you can just plot your own concoction over beers in their taproom, which include winning bevs such as Rocket Bear, Beast Mode, and Banana Party.
Arches 29-30, 24 Old Jamaica Road, SE16 4AW. Open 12-10pm (Thu and Fri), 12-7:30pm (Sat), and 12:30-7pm (Sun).
Stop 12: The Kernel Brewery
If you’re the brave fool hoping to hit every stop on this list, The Kernel is the reason to hurry. Shutting up shop at 2pm means they’re the first on the Bermondsey Beer Mile to close, although conversely they were the first brewers to open up on the Mile. There’s a strong focus on pale ales here, but discerning drinkers are sure to find something to suit their taste.
Arch 11, Dockley Road, SE16 3SF. Open 9am-2pm on Saturdays only.
Stop 13: Affinity Brew Co
Proudly “unfiltered, unpasteurised, and can-conditioned”, Affinity is a welcome sight after the longest beerless stretch of the Bermondsey Beer Mile (going on for a sobering 1km). Quickly remedy one of that with one of their canned offerings, including the Aussie-inspired Toowoomba, based on the classic Lamington.
7 Almond Rd, SE16 3LR. Open 5-8:30pm (Friday), 12-8:30pm (Saturday), and 12-6pm (Sunday).
Stop 14: Spartan Brewery
Owners Colin and Mike do everything at this micro brewery, from crafting the beers to mopping the floors. They’ll serve you beers straight from the conditioning tank, and if it isn’t too busy, throw in a tour of the brewery too. Good lads!
Stop 15: EeBria
A distributor rather than a brewer, EeBria offer kegged and bottled beers from over 450 breweries. Usually, we’d call that plain old showing off, but given that they also offer free shuffleboard, an arcade machine, and a makeshift beer garden, we’re fully on board.
Stop 16: Partizan Brewing
Right at the eastern end of the Bermondsey Beer Mile, you’ll find two of the London craft beer scene’s biggest players. First up is Partizan, who’ve been on the Mile in one spot or another for seven years. With a mix of core and seasonal brews on offer, including a curious Lemon & Thyme Saison, you’re sure to find something to quench your thirst – along with some fabulously extra taps.
Stop 17: Fourpure Brewing Co
Well, this is it. If you’re still standing, congratulations: you’ve reached the end of the Bermondsey Beer Mile! (Of course, if you elected to do it the other way, then congratulations: you’ve just started the Bermondsey Beer Mile!) You’ll have seen them in the pubs of London before, but Fourpure’s taproom boasts 20 taps, with everything from their Flagship favourites to their small batch Pioneer Series on offer. Plus, they’ve got street food faves Oh My Dog in residence, so tuck into a well-earned hotdog – you’ve certainly earned it!
22 Rotherhithe New Road, SE16 3LL. Open 12-8pm (Tue, Wed, and Sun), 12-10pm (Thu and Fri), and 11am-8pm (Sat).
After blazing a trail through the breweries, why not wend your way to one of London’s best wine bars?
Featured image: @_seasew
Also published on Medium.